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Pilot program promotes paddling

Superior Mayor Jim Paine, center, cuts a ribbon at the new canoe and kayak stand at the North 28th Street boat landing Friday with, left to right, Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce director of marketing and social media Nikky Farmakes, chief of staff to the mayor Rani Gill, Jane Anklam, Northwoods Land Conservations Manager, West Wisconsin Land Trust, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Linda Cadotte and Chamber Ambassador Julie Urban with Gavilon Grain. Maria Lockwood

The Green Heron has a new perch.

Superior Mayor Jim Paine secured his canoe — nicknamed the "Green Heron" because it spends as much time on land as on water — to one of the city's new canoe and kayak stands Friday at the 28th Street Landing.

Sometimes, the mayor said, it's just a pain to haul your canoe or kayak down to the water.

"So we're going to help you do the work just one time and put it right on the water, so you can spend more time in one of the most important natural resources we have here in the city of Superior, and that's our rivers, our lake, our harbor, our estuary and exploring our forest from the water," Paine said.

Three stands have been installed in the city — at North 28th Street along Woodstock Bay, the Billings Park Landing and Barker's Island — as part of a pilot project. Each has six racks, enough room for six canoes or up to 12 kayaks.

The stands didn't cost the city a thing.

Brian Nelson and Russ Whitehouse with Ironworkers Local Union 512 designed and built the stands for the city using material they had on hand. City crews installed them.

"Anything we can do to stay part of the community," said Nelson, apprenticeship and training coordinator for the Hermantown office.

The iron workers assembled another of their community contributions, the Bentleyville tree, over the weekend.

Paine got the idea from friends in Minneapolis. The city has canoe racks on all its lakes.

"When I had a free hour, I would daydream about it and make some calls and it just came together," he said. "I was thrilled about it and it was probably one of the coolest things we've done all summer."

For the rest of this season, use is free. Slots for 2018 will be rented out on a first-come, first-serve basis. The cost to rent one for the summer is $100 for residents, $200 for non-residents.

According to the city website, Superior residents can apply for a spot beginning Feb. 1; non-residents may apply beginning April 1. But early calls are already being fielded.

"People can contact us at any point just to get it lined up for spring," said Linda Cadotte, city parks, recreation and forestry director.

More racks and sites may be added in future.

"If it is a successful program, I really hope we're able to grow it, not just for the revenue. That's not why we're doing this," Paine said. "We want more people to be on the water."

Superior has three paddle-worthy rivers within its boundaries — the St. Louis, Pokegama and Nemadji. Add in the 4,400 acres of the Superior Municipal Forest and the city becomes a wilderness destination.

"It's the Boundary Waters in Superior," Paine said.

In addition to highlighting the new canoe stands, city officials focused attention Friday on the 28th Street Landing. The city recently purchased the 14.6-acre site on Woodstock Bay, including land across the street from a private landowner.

"I think people have thought this property was the city's for quite some time, and now it finally is," Cadotte said.

A grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made the $145,000 purchase possible.

Future plans include connecting the landing to the trail system and forest. The Millennial Trail ends around the bend on North 28th Street.

"As far as the landing goes, the intent would be to keep it as a rustic launch, a rustic canoe, kayak, paddling, flat boat launch," Cadotte said. "Maybe throw in some picnic tables and things like that, but ... the intent is to keep it as a rustic public space."

More information on canoe/kayak rack rental can be found on the city's website, www.ci.superior.wi.us, under the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

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